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2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Ole Miss opens the Oxford Regional with four-seed SEMO

Let’s talk about the Rebels and Redhawks.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Derek Diamond will take the ball on the hill for Ole Miss to start its postseason journey on Friday night as the Rebels play host to the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Swayze Field.

SEMO is tossing its ace, Ohio Valley Conference pitcher of the year Dylan Dodd, against the Rebels on Friday. Dodd has had a pretty strong year as evidenced by his season accolade, and on Feb. 25 in a loss to Arkansas, Dodd threw six innings allowing just two earned runs, which, given what we know about the Hogs, is a pretty good feat. Oh, and he’s also a lefty and struck out 10 that night as well. Granted, it was early in the year and cold, so hopefully that won’t translate to success tonight against the red and blue.

Dodd is 12-2 on the year with his other loss coming on March 12 against something called SIUE where he only threw five innings. He also got roughed up by [checks notes] Austin Peay (pronounced “Austin PEE,” if you recall) last week, giving up nine hits and six earned runs, but he did manage to capture the win.

The bottom line is this: Dodd is good, but Ole Miss has seen better this season. SEMO is a four seed for a reason. Ole Miss is a host for a reason. Go out and take care of business tonight and give the ball to Doug Nikhazy tomorrow against either Southern Miss or Florida State and set yourself up well for Sunday. That’s the path to success this weekend.

It’s no secret that Ole Miss got a tough regional draw, but the Rebels are better than the other three teams they’ll be facing this weekend. They just have to play like it.

Tonight’s game will be on ESPN3 (I wasn’t aware that was still a thing), and first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

P.S. — here’s what the Rebs will be wearing tonight when they take the field.